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113th Congress Rept. 113-394
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
2d Session Part 1
RIM FIRE EMERGENCY SALVAGE ACT
April 1, 2014.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the
State of the Union and ordered to be printed.
Mr. Hastings of Washington, from the Committee on Natural Resources,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 3188]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred
the bill (H.R. 3188) to expedite the planning and
implementation of salvage timber sales as part of Forest
Service and Department of the Interior restoration and
rehabilitation activities for lands within the Stanislaus
National Forest and Yosemite National Park and Bureau of Land
Management lands adversely impacted by the 2013 Rim Fire in
California, having considered the same, report favorably
thereon with amendments and recommend that the bill as amended
The amendments are as follows:
Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Rim Fire Emergency Salvage Act''.
SEC. 2. EXPEDITED SALVAGE TIMBER SALES IN RESPONSE TO THE CALIFORNIA
(a) Salvage Timber Sales Required.--As part of the restoration and
rehabilitation activities undertaken on the lands within the Stanislaus
National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management lands adversely
impacted by the 2013 Rim Fire in California, the Secretary of
Agriculture, with respect to affected Stanislaus National Forest lands,
and the Secretary of the Interior, with respect to affected Bureau of
Land Management lands, shall promptly plan and implement salvage timber
sales of dead, damaged, or downed timber resulting from that wildfire.
(b) Expedited Implementation.--
(1) Legal sufficiency.--Due to the extraordinary severity of
the Rim Fire occurring on the Federal lands described in
subsection (a), salvage timber sales conducted under such
subsection shall proceed immediately and to completion
notwithstanding any other provision of law, including the
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et
seq.), section 14 of the National Forest Management Act of 1976
(16 U.S.C. 472a), the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources
Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1600 et seq.), and the Federal
Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701 et
(2) Administrative and judicial review.--Salvage timber sales
conducted under subsection (a) shall not be subject to--
(A) administrative review, including, in the case of
the Forest Service, the notice, comment, and appeal
requirements of section 322 of the Department of the
Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1993
(Public Law 102-381; 16 U.S.C. 1612 note); or
(B) judicial review in any court of the United
Amend the title so as to read:
A bill to expedite the planning and implementation of
salvage timber sales as part of Forest Service and Department
of the Interior restoration and rehabilitation activities for
lands within the Stanislaus National Forest and Bureau of Land
Management lands adversely impacted by the 2013 Rim Fire in
PURPOSE OF THE BILL
The purpose of H.R. 3188, as ordered reported, is to
expedite the planning and implementation of salvage timber
sales as part of Forest Service and Department of the Interior
restoration and rehabilitation activities for lands within the
Stanislaus National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands
adversely impacted by the 2013 Rim Fire in California.
BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION
The Yosemite Rim Fire Emergency Salvage Act (H.R. 3188) was
introduced in the wake of the devastating Rim Fire in
California's Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Rim Fire first began
on August 17, 2013, allegedly due to an abandoned campfire.
This fire became the third largest wildfire in California's
history and burned approximately 257,000 acres--over 400 square
miles--of the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National
Park, in addition to destroying 11 residences and over 100
other structures. The total cost of fire suppression is
estimated to be over $127 million.
While the Forest Service has begun the process of offering
a limited amount of salvage timber for sale from the Rim Fire
to restore areas that will impact the City of San Francisco's
hydroelectric dam and power plants, the agency admits that
``[it] will take much longer to approve other areas for salvage
logging'' due to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
According to the Society of American Foresters, post-fire
restoration, including salvage of dead timber, is in many cases
necessary to reduce wildfire risk from future fires, reduce
insect, disease, and invasive species infestations, as well as
improve forest regeneration, wildlife habitat, and finally,
reduce watershed impacts and erosion. It is also necessary to
implement salvage projects as soon as possible before the
economic value of the timber is lost due to deterioration, thus
making it more expensive to complete restoration and
reforestation activities as the revenues from salvage timber
sales are made available to fund such work.
H.R. 3188 would assist in the restoration process by
directing the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior to
``promptly'' implement salvage timber sales of dead and damaged
timber as a result of the Rim Fire. The legislation would
categorically exclude such timber sales from time-consuming
analysis under NEPA and other applicable federal laws, and
would also prohibit frivolous appeals and litigation to ensure
that projects would not be delayed.
During Natural Resources Committee markup of the bill, the
Committee adopted an amendment offered by Congressman Tom
McClintock (R-CA) to exclude Yosemite National Park from lands
affected by this legislation.
H.R. 3188 was introduced on September 26, 2013, by
Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA). The bill was referred to the
Committee on Agriculture, and in addition to the Committee on
Natural Resources. Within the Natural Resources Committee, the
bill was referred to to the Subcommittee on Public Lands and
Environmental Regulation. On October 3, 2013, the Subcommittee
held a hearing on the bill. On November 14, 2013, the Natural
Resources Committee met to consider the bill. The Subcommittee
on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation was discharged by
unanimous consent. Congressman McClintock offered an amendment
designated .072 to the bill; the amendment was adopted by voice
vote. No further amendments were offered to the bill, and the
bill, as amended, was then adopted and ordered favorably
reported to the House of Representatives by a record vote of 16
to 15, as follows:
COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.
COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII
1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(2)(B)
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the
Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Under clause 3(c)(3) of rule
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section
403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has
received the following cost estimate for this bill from the
Director of the Congressional Budget Office:
H.R. 3188--Rim Fire Emergency Salvage Act
H.R. 3188 would direct the Secretaries of the Interior and
Agriculture to conduct salvage sales of dead, damaged, or
downed timber resulting from the 2013 Rim Fire in California.
Sales of salvage timber under the bill would be exempted from
certain laws related to the environment and forest management.
In addition, sales conducted under the bill would not be
subject to administrative or judicial review.
CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3188 would have no
significant net impact on the federal budget. Because enacting
the bill would affect offsetting receipts, and thus direct
spending, pay-as-you-go procedures would apply; however, CBO
estimates that the net effect on direct spending would be
negligible. Enacting H.R. 3188 would not affect revenues.
Under current law, we expect that the Forest Service will
sell significant amounts of salvage timber from areas affected
by the 2013 Rim Fire over the next several years. In addition,
based on information provided by the Forest Service, CBO
expects that other factors, including a lack of manufacturing
capacity and hazardous weather conditions in the affected
areas, would prevent the Forest Service from significantly
increasing the amount of salvage timber sold if the bill was
enacted. Finally, CBO expects that any increase in the amount
of salvage timber sold in the affected areas would be partially
offset by reductions in the sale of such timber in other
H.R. 3188 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined
in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would not affect
the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.
H.R. 3188 would impose a private-sector mandate, as defined
in UMRA, on plaintiffs by eliminating a right of action to seek
judicial review of sales of salvageable timber on some federal
lands affected by the Rim Fire. The cost of eliminating a right
of action is the forgone income and value of awards in such
cases. Because such losses would generally not occur for the
types of cases involved, the mandate would probably impose no
costs. Consequently, CBO estimates the cost of the mandate
would fall well below the annual threshold established in UMRA
for private-sector mandates ($152 million in 2014, adjusted
annually for inflation).
On February 5, 2014, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for
H.R. 2954, the Public Access and Lands Improvement Act, as
posted on the website of the House Committee on Rules on
January 30, 2014. Title IX of H.R. 2954 contains provisions
similar to those contained in H.R. 3188, and the CBO cost
estimates are the same.
The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Jeff LaFave
(for federal costs) and Amy Petz (for the private-sector
impact). The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
2. Section 308(a) of Congressional Budget Act. As required
by clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of
Representatives and section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget
Act of 1974, this bill does not contain any new budget
authority, spending authority, credit authority, or an increase
or decrease in revenues or tax expenditures. CBO estimates that
implementing H.R. 3188 would have no significant net impact on
the federal budget. Because enacting the bill would affect
offsetting receipts, and thus direct spending, pay-as-you-go
procedures would apply; however, CBO estimates that the net
effect on direct spending would be negligible.
3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or
objective of this bill, as ordered reported, is to expedite the
planning and implementation of salvage timber sales as part of
Forest Service and Department of the Interior restoration and
rehabilitation activities for lands within the Stanislaus
National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands adversely
impacted by the 2013 Rim Fire in California.
This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks,
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of
the House of Representatives.
COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4
This bill contains no unfunded mandates.
COMPLIANCE WITH H. RES. 5
Directed Rule Making. The Chairman does not believe that
this bill directs any executive branch official to conduct any
specific rule-making proceedings.
Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was
not included in any report from the Government Accountability
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law
98-169) as relating to other programs.
PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW
This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW
If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing
H.R. 3188 requires salvage logging in the areas affected by
the Rim Fire, one of the largest fires ever recorded in the
Sierra Nevada Mountains, while waiving all aspects of the
National Environmental Policy Act and a list of other landmark
Planning, environmental review, and public comment are all
important components of forest management. Taking any of those
pieces out of the equation threatens our forests and the
resources Congress has pledged to protect.
The jury is still out on the merits of salvage logging
after wildfires. In fact, many scientists agree that post-fire
logging upsets a critical component of forest ecology and
should be done on a case-by-case basis, and then only after
H.R. 3188 fails to review the merits of salvage logging or
assess when and how it may be appropriate in the context of the
The Rim Fire may have been an opportunity to reexamine the
post-wildfire management tools available to the Forest Service
and Bureau of Land Management. Instead, H.R. 3188 turns it into
an opportunity to score a few political points.
While the majority amended the bill in committee to remove
Yosemite National Park from the scope of the bill, H.R. 3188
sets a terrible precedent.
Peter A. DeFazio.
Raul M. Grijalva.